Former Manchester United striker Michael Owen has leapt to the defence of Eden Hazard after the Chelsea star was send off for kicking out at a ball boy during the Blues' Capital One Cup semi-final tie against Swansea last night.

Hazard sparked controversy after being sent off for kicking the ball from underneath a prostrate ball-boy attempting to waste time in the second half of Chelsea’s 0-0 draw at the Liberty Stadium, apparently injuring the 17-year-old in the process.

The Belgian international has faced a barrage of criticism in the aftermath of the incident, but he has found an unlikely ally in Owen. Now plying his trade with Stoke, the 33-year-old took to Twitter to defend his fellow pro.

“How people can claim Hazard assaulted a kid is embarrassing,” he wrote.

“He shouldn’t have kicked the ball out of his grasp but he hardly booted the lad as some people were suggesting.

“The lad’s antics were scandalous and no wonder he isn’t taking any further action.

“His dad is a Swansea director so I’d assume this situation will be dealt with in the appropriate manner.”

The incident distracted from a memorable night for Swansea, who set up a Capital One Cup final showdown against League Two Bradford with a 2-0 aggregate win over the champions of Europe.

Michael Laudrup’s side earned a 0-0 draw in front of a home crowd to secure a place in a major cup final for the first time in their history. 


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